Under Her Skin: How Girls Experience Race in America is a book that Pooja Makhijani edited and Seal Press published recently.
The blurb from the publicist reads thus:
“This astounding collection explores racial awakening with a delicate clarity reminiscent of the innocent, yet stark narration of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird. Including the perspectives of women of color, white women, and those caught between two worlds, Under Her Skin traces themes related to double lives, fear, envy, lineage, and family, expanding the often painful exploration of difference. Essays include the reflections of a woman whose girlhood is spent deciphering levels of oppression.from her Jewish family’s past and internment in Nazi camps to her own spiteful treatment of their African-American maids; brutal memories of ”Beat the Buddha Day,“ – a tradition of schoolyard violence that transfers discrimination from one group to another; and an unexpected contrast in how one childhood racial incident is recalled by two women, both challenging and complicating the notion of ”victim“! The first book of its kind to include the impact of racial awareness on women of all colors, Under Her Skin embodies a vital and unique contribution to the national discussion on race.”
Pooja Makhijani and many of the contributors of Under Her Skin will be reading in New York City, San Francisco, Berkeley, Boston and DC in the months of January, February and March. Check out the complete schedule here.
Pooja Makhijani is an essayist, journalist and writer of children’s literature. Her bylines have appeared in in The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Newark Star-Ledger, The Indian Express, Time Out New York, NY ARTS Magazine India Today and Time Out New York Kids among others. Her first picture book, Mama’s Saris, is forthcoming from Little, Brown & Company Books for Young Readers. Currently at work on a collection of essays, she lives with her husband in New York City.
I do hope you will check this book out and also attend one of the many book readings across the country. Some day I just might tell you about my experiences as an immigrant; this notion of “difference” was pounded into me as an adolescent. I am not terribly sure if it has stuck, though. We all have a variety of positive and negative experiences and somehow we make the choice of clinging to either or both and making the best of it. I would welcome a discussion here on how you have approached this topic. How has your identity been defined? Is it based on “sameness” or “difference”?